By THE NATION
Such actions are illegal and punishable with a fine and/or a jail term, the police said yesterday on the eve of the annual festival known for its fun-filled parties and water fights.
Pol Colonel Siriwat Deepor, the spokesman and deputy commander of the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD), said that previous Songkran festivals often saw inappropriate photos of young women and ladyboys posted on Thai social media. He urged revellers to mark the Thai traditional New Year with polite cultural activities and refrain from any risky behaviour that could lead to violations of the Computer Act and related laws.
Siriwat explained that if pictures or video clips of Songkran revellers wearing “sexually-provocative clothing” were posted online, those posting or sharing them could be charged with violating the Computer Act and subjected to a maximum five-year jail term and/or a maximum Bt100,000 fine. Those captured by photographs or video clips could be charged with performing a shameful act in public by indecently exposing themselves or committing other indecent acts under the Criminal Code’s Section 388, which carries a maximum fine of Bt500.
Social media posts inviting others to drink alcohol was also subject to a maximum one-year jail term and a maximum Bt500,000 fine, as per the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, he noted.
Other indecent posts or live streaming deemed against society’s good morality and the law could also face legal action, Siriwat added.
TCSD commander Pol Maj-General Paiboon Noihoon also instructed officers to monitor Thai social media closely during Songkran in order to speedily investigate potential violations and prevent other viewers, especially youngsters, from copying indecent behaviour and to ensure the Songkran festival was properly celebrated according to the Thai tradition and culture.
“Be warned that TCSD officers are able to probe and to trace [postings] back to the culprits to face prosecutions, and the suspects cannot claim to not know the law or their action’s consequences or not having an illegal intention,” Paiboon said.
Meanwhile, Metropolitan Police Bureau chief Pol Lt-General Sutthipong Wongpin clarified that the ban on having alcohol drinks in moving vehicles did not prohibit drivers from giving a ride to drunken passengers.
“The law will see the presence of alcoholic drinks on-board the vehicle as incriminating evidence,” he warned, citing that it indicated that alcohol had been consumed behind the wheel and that both the driver and passengers could be held accountable for violating the ban. He also urged revellers to avoid driving after drinking to avoid a serious punishment in the event that they caused a fatal crash.
Sutthipong made the comment after presiding over a meeting at the bureau of 200 policemen of deputy-superintendent and inspector ranks. They discussed security measures to be implemented at various Bangkok venues during the April 12-16 festivities, and plans to ensure traffic flowed smoothly on main roads and near transport hubs.
Sutthipong also said that, as per usual practice, city police would not take time off over Songkran as the public needed them to be on duty.